TOTOO BA: Wowie de Guzman not first choice to play Judy Ann's leading man in Mara Clara?

by James Patrick Anarcon
Jan 22, 2020
Did you know that Wowie de Guzman was not the original choice to be Judy Ann Santos' leading man in Mara Clara?
PHOTO/S: Mara Clara (ABS-CBN)

Did you know that Wowie de Guzman was not the original choice to be Judy Ann Santos' leading man in Mara Clara?

Wowie revealed this during his PEP.ph Live interview last Thursday, January 16, at the Summit Media office in Mandaluyong City.

According to Wowie, who was then a member of the Universal Motion Dancers, his venture into acting was not planned.

The original ABS-CBN version of Mara Clara started airing in 1992. In 1994, Wowie was cast as the guy who would further intensify the rivalry between Judy Ann and Gladys Reyes's characters in the show.

Wowie said, "Hindi yun planado because natatandaan ko, at that time kasi, noong time na yun ng Mara Clara, nagdadalaga na...

"Kasi nagstart yun, bata pa si Gladys at saka si Judy Ann, and then noong nagdalaga na sila, kailangan ng love interest."

Wowie admitted that he was not actually the first choice to play the role of Christian, Mara (Judy Ann) and Clara's (Gladys) love interest.

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He revealed, "Ang alam ko, hindi talaga ako yung original na para doon sa role na yun.

"Marami sila, but then, parang hindi matuluy-tuloy yung mga kinukuha nilang leading man. Wala akong idea [kung sino sila], pero yun lang ang alam ko.

"Kasi ang pagkakaintindi ko, noong nag guest kami sa ano pa noon, Mel & Jay pa yung natatandaan ko, tapos noong iniinterview kami isa isa, doon ako natandaan ng executive producer, I think. Tapos sabi papuntahin niyo yung nasa Universal Motion, yung may nunal, tapos i-try natin."

Mel & Jay was the defunct talk show hosted by Mel Tiangco and Jay Sonza that used to air on ABS-CBN from 1989 to 1996. On GMA-7, it was known as Partners Mel and Jay when it aired on the Kapuso network from 1996 to 2004.

Wowie narrated how his first day in Mara Clara went.

"So, pumunta ako doon, tapos may dala akong costume dahil feeling ko sasayaw lang ako, tapos biglang sinalang ako sa mga may camera na, tapos paaartehin na ako kasama sila Judy Ann! So, para akong robot doon, siyempre!

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"But then, hindi ko alam kung ano yung nakita nila sa akin, siguro talagang destiny, tapos sabi, 'Sige, pabalikin niyo pa,' hanggang sa tinuruan nila ako ng tinuruan hanggang sa nagustuhan ako. Naging regular ako ng Mara Clara."

JUDY ANN SANTOS-WOWIE DE GUZMAN TEAM-UP

While still doing Mara Clara, Judy Ann and Gladys starred in the 1996 movie Sana Naman, which also featured the tandem of Judy Ann and Wowie. The movie became a blockbuster hit.

After Mara Clara, Judy Ann and Wowie were paired again in Judy Ann's solo series, Esperanza, which ran from 1997 to 1999.

Judy Ann and Wowie also top-billed movies that did well in the box office, such as Muling Ibalik ang Tamis ng Pag-ibig (1998), I'm Sorry, My Love (1998), and Dito sa Puso Ko (1999).

Wowie said about this, "Overwhelming yung experience kasi sanay ako na grupo yung kasama ko tapos biglang maipe-pair ka. Sila Judy Ann kasi noon, kilala na sila noon sa soap.

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"Parang nagugulat ako lalo na noong sinasama na nila ako sa mall shows, bigla kang hihingian ng kanta. Hindi naman ako kumakanta, sumasayaw ako!

"'Kaya mo yan sige, lip sync ka lang.' Tinuturuan ako ng dalawa!

"Very overwhelming yung biglang dumating sa akin but thankful sa experience."

Wowie admits that watching their old movies brings back a lot of fond memories for him.

"Kapag napapanuod ko yung mga movies namin sa TV, may maalala lang ako na noong ginawa namin, 'Ito, ganito yung nangyari diyan,' kapag nakikita ko yung mga pelikula namin dati.

"Yung sa pelikula kasi namin ni Judy Ann, hirap na hirap ako kapag kailangan magpapakilig kami sa eksena.

"So yun yung unforgettable kasi napakahirap niyang gawin, but, of course, lagi ako inaalalayan ni Judy Ann and kapag mga drama, kapag napapanuod ko siya sa TV, naiisip ko gaano kahirap inabot ko noong ginagawa yung mga eksenang yun."

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Wowie says Mara Clara contributed a lot to his career as an actor and dancer.

"Because of that, until now, ang laki pa rin ng na-contribute ng career ko noon up until now.

"Tulad nga kapag pumunta ako sa Iloilo, ang nirerequest nila, ang hinahanap pa rin nila sa akin, 'Saan si Mara?' and at the same time, pati yung mga sayaw namin noong '90s.

"Just imagine, 30 years ago up until now, sinasayaw ko pa rin yun and sinasabi ko pa rin na may asawa na po si Judy Ann doon sa mga lolang tumatawag sa akin!"

At present, Wowie is looking forward to the dance concert titled '90s Panahon Ko 'To, which features popular dance groups from the '90s, including Wowie's own dance group, Universal Motion Dancers. The dance concert will take place on January 31, 2020 at the ABS-CBN Vertis Tent in Quezon City.

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Did you know that Wowie de Guzman was not the original choice to be Judy Ann Santos' leading man in Mara Clara?
PHOTO/S: Mara Clara (ABS-CBN)
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